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Caularthron bicornutum


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Caularthron bicornutum (Hooker) C. S. Rafinesque published in Flora Telluriana 2, 1836 (Jan-Mar 1837.) Basionym Epidendrum bicornutum William Jackson Hooker published in Botanical Magazine 61, 1834. Synonyms Diacrium amazonicum Schlechter, D. bicornutum (Hooker) Bentham, Caularthron kraenzlinianum H. G. Jones.  Common name Virgin Orchid. Etymology is from the Latin "bicornutus" meaning with two horns.  Not only is this species prized for its beautiful flowers, it is a confirmed ant-house species.

  Description:  Robust, cylindric pseudobulbs reach lengths of up to 25 cm (10”), each enclosed within 3-4 leaves reaching 35cm (14”) long. Clustered, erect inflorescences grow apically from pseudobulbs that bear up to 20 white, 6 cm. wide, very attractive flowers that are similar to but larger than those of C. bilamellatum.

  Habitats: In sunny positions on rocky cliffs near the sea and along rivers to elevations of 200-750 m. (650-2450 ft.)  Range: Native to South America north of the Amazon River in Colombia, Venezuela, Guyane, Surinam, French Guiana, and Brazil as well as on the nearby islands of Trinidad and Tobago where it meets C. bilamellatum.

Plants may be slab mounted if one can supply adequate water and humidity or placed in medium grade orchid media in smallish baskets.  They may fade somewhat in winter (the dry season in nature) when plants will probably require a slightly drier rest in good light.  As one would expect from its generally lowland tropical homelands it will require warmth - a probable minimum of about 15 C (60F.) depending on one's overall local temperature regimes.

240px-Caularthron_bicornutum_-_ill._from  Source: Curtis's Botanical Magazine, 1834.

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